Morgan Stanley Terminates Broker over College Admissions Scandal
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management has terminated a Pasadena, California, advisor entangled in the alleged college admissions cheating scheme, a spokeswoman for the company confirmed.
Michael Shujun Wu, a 16-year brokerage industry veteran who joined Morgan Stanley from Merrill Lynch in 2015, was discharged in March.
“Mr. Wu was terminated for not cooperating with an internal investigation into the college admissions matter, and we are cooperating with authorities,” a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said.
Wu was generating $4 million in annual fees and commissions on $355 million in client assets when he joined Morgan Stanley in 2015, according to newswire and trade magazine reports at the time. The adviser, who could not be reached for comment, as of Wednesday had no client complaints or other employment, regulatory or criminal disclosures on his BrokerCheck record.
“The Wall Street Journal” and The “Los Angeles Times” earlier on Wednesday reported that an unidentified Morgan Stanley broker referred a family from China to William “Rick” Singer, the mastermind of the alleged scandal. The family paid Singer $6.5 million to help them secure entry to Stanford University, the Journal said, quoting a person familiar with the matter.
Wu’s former Morgan Stanley webpage profile said he was a managing director and international client advisor. Morgan Stanley earlier this year merged its international wealth management unit with its private wealth group for advisors serving upper-high-net-worth clients with $20 million or more in assets in an effort to better monitor activities within the global unit.
Cynthia Newman, manager of the firm’s five-branch Pasadena complex, declined to comment on Wu or on reports that others in her complex had hosted meetings at which Singer made presentations to wealthy clients.
Morgan Stanley earlier confirmed that Singer’s firm was once on its list of referral organizations but was removed in 2015. He subsequently maintained contact with some advisors, according to a person familiar with the relationship.
On Monday, “The Wall Street Journal” reported that an Oppenheimer & Co. advisor on a Los Angeles team called The Summa Group had referred another Chinese family to Singer.
Oppenheimer, which earlier said that it had ended its referral relationships with the college admissions counselor and his firm, told the paper that the family was never a firm client.
—Jed Horowitz contributed to this story.